Developing skin analogues for a robotic octopus
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/S1672-6529(11)60126-1
In order to fabricate a biomimetic skin for an octopus inspired robot, a new process was developed based on mechanical properties measured from real octopus skin. Various knitted nylon textiles were tested and the one of 10-denier nylon was chosen as reinforcement. A combination of Ecoflex 0030 and 0010 silicone rubbers was used as matrix of the composite to obtain the right stiffness for the skin-analogue system. The open mould fabrication process developed allows air bubble to escape easily and the artificial skin produced was thin and waterproof. Material properties of the biomimetic skin were characterised using static tensile and instrumented scissors cutting tests. The Young’s moduli of the artificial skin are 0.08 MPa and 0.13 MPa in the longitudinal and transverse directions, which are much lower than those of the octopus skin. The strength and fracture toughness of the artificial skin, on the other hand are higher than those of real octopus skins. Conically-shaped skin prototypes to be used to cover the robotic arm unit were manufactured and tested. The biomimetic skin prototype was stiff enough to maintain it conical shape when filled with water. The driving force for elongation was reduced significantly compared with previous prototypes.
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